How to Build a Winning Digital Marketing Strategy (Part 1)
Digital marketing is a challenging and multi-faceted discipline.
With new social network releases, privacy concerns, and search/social algorithm updates happening at breakneck speed, it's inevitable for both marketers and business owners to experience feelings of overwhelm, defeat, and "being stuck" when it comes to building a successful digital marketing strategy.
After all, there are now more ways than ever to reach the people who are going to buy your product or service, and the way you reach them and communicate with them on those channels can change without much notice.
As you begin to delve into your own marketing strategy, it can be overwhelming to know how – or even where - to focus your efforts.
That's why we're here to tell you that even though the marketing discipline has changed dramatically over the years, many of the root principals of marketing are still valid and relevant--and so is taking a different approach to digital marketing.
Consider a different approach to digital marketing
When we say "Consider a different approach," we don't mean looking for a new channel to promote your business on. We're actually suggesting that businesses follow a different mindset entirely.
Because it's common for marketing--especially digital marketing--to be treated like a band aid for internal dysfunction and other systematic issues that are outside a marketer's skill set.
Because it's also common for businesses to feel pressure to go completely digital and be on every social media channel one can think of or spread their marketing teams thin by being on every social media channel one can imagine AND marketing themselves offline (Amen I say to you, you don't need to be everywhere).
Other times, folks can look to marketing for immediate results and find themselves sorely disappointed when instant success doesn't come.
While the intentions are good, approaching marketing in these ways can lead to burnout, beget frequent shifts in strategy and direction, and bring on the unfortunate attitude that marketing is another form of snake oil.
Marketing is not snake oil.
Marketing is a tool that can give you extraordinary results when approached and used correctly.
Marketing is an intentional, practical experiment where the main goal is to understand what systems and tactics are optimal for connecting with the people who are going to buy your product or service (and then leverage the shit out of the systems and tactics that work).
With experiments, results aren't always immediate and failures happen. But just because you fail doesn't mean you should quit entirely.
Failure is a lot of information coming at you all at once, and progress/knowledge are by-products of our failures. As the Irish Existentialist Samuel Beckett once said, "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better."
The same concept is relevant when it comes to marketing. Sometimes our best laid plans and campaigns don't work, and the core reason they don't work is because we don't yet have the basic information we need to be successful, like knowing your industry, competitors, and customers. Let's dive into that, shall we?
Understand your Industry & Competitors
Take a moment to consider these questions:
How many companies in your industry offer the same exact product/service as you? Are there a lot, or just a few?
Out of all the companies in your industry that offer the same product/service, what are 3-5 companies that can directly take business away from your organization?
How are your competitors marketing to their ideal audience?
What advantage do you have over your competitors? What value can you bring your customers that your competitors can't?
Were you able to answer these questions easily? If so, congratulations! You're on your way to creating a winning digital marketing strategy.
If you struggled with these questions, it's worth your time, effort, and money to first analyze your industry and get to know your competitors.
It is easier to be strategic and capitalize on your competitors' keywords, tactics, marketing systems, customers, and content when you know who you're up against.
It is also easier to become a leader in your industry and give your team direction when you have a complete vision of the industry landscape.
If you don't know where or how to start an industry or competitor analysis, here are a few resources we turn to when we help our clients build their online marketing strategy:
Know your audience
We've said it before in other places and we'll say it again: the spitball approach is best way to waste your marketing dollars.
The spitball approach implies that a company hasn't taken the time to understand who their customers are as people. When this happens, no strategy, system, funnel, etc. will work.
In order to win in today's digital landscape, you have to do more than collect basic customer age, ethnicity, gender and location demographics in order to innovate, progress, and win.
You have to be customer obsessed enough to know what your customers struggle with, what they like to read, what websites they visit, which social networks they use, whether they have families, or if they're entirely offline (this does happen in 2019).
You have to employ empathy, respect, and advocacy when communicating with your customers, because at the end of the day, they are also people with hopes, values, and dreams.
Finding out what they are concerned with socially, culturally, and politically can help you develop a better marketing strategy to reach them more effectively.
The more you know about your ideal customers at the beginning, the more efficient, strategic, relevant and sane you will be. Here are some of our favorite resources for getting a 360 degree understanding on your customers:
Your sales team
Your customer service team
Competitor websites & social media channels
Leverage Reporting to Refine Your Initiatives
You know what the greatest thing about reporting is?
The stories it can tell you about your customers, marketing channels, and more. When you use tools like Google Analytics, Data Studio, Supermetrics, and others, you can get transparent feedback on what strategies and systems are working, obtain new insights on your customers, and identify which initiatives need to be enhanced or eliminated.
Let's talk about the "time on page" and "average session duration" metrics in Google Analytics for a moment.
For the uninitiated, "average session duration" and "time on page" are merit-based website metrics that honestly tell you how you're doing in the web content department.
Average session duration gives you the average amount of time users spend on your website overall. Time on Page tells you how much time people are spending on a specific page.
When you have visibility into average session duration and time on page, you can determine whether there is a need to enhance your website's content so it does a better job of alleviating your customer pain points, meeting their needs, and aligning with their values.
Knowledge is power, after all.
Does your online marketing need a boost? Contact Razzo today to schedule a free consultation!